Seen on Golf Channel: Increase your greens in regulation percentage by playing conservatively, away from the flag
Golf is a game of risk versus reward.
For example, choosing to attack a pin guarded by water can leave inches for birdie if you pull off the shot. But we’re all too familiar with the risk of ending up at the bottom of the pond if you don’t.
So unless your name is David Hearn – last season’s proximity to the hole leader on the PGA Tour – would you rather make a trip to the drop zone by going for it, or walk away with an easy two-putt par by aiming to the center of the green?
We’ll take the latter.
Take the conservative approach
As thrilling as it is to be a pin seeker, it’s not always the smartest strategy. Nonetheless, if you subscribe to the “No Laying Up” philosophy, we have an exercise to guide your risk-reward calculation the next time you’re tempted by a tiny landing area.
In a recent appearance on Golf Channel’s ‘Morning Drive,’ Patrick Nuber pulled up an intriguing situation on the simulator. Picture a tucked hole location with water short.
As inviting as that pin might be to aim at, though, it’s far from the smartest play. Especially if you’re one who often “short-sides” your approach shots.
So to help you make better course management decisions, Nuber shared a useful test to understand which target is smartest for your skill level. It can be accomplished best on the golf course with an approach shot as pictured above, but any approach (from nearly any distance) with a hole location tucked near a bunker or other hazard will accomplish the task.
The idea is to hit six shots total – three aiming directly at the pin and three aiming at the middle of the green – and then play all six out from there. Whichever group has the lower total score, that’s the strategy you should take to the bank!
Of course, chances are the winning strategy will be the conservative one. But we’ll let you do your own research to trust what can only help your cause to shooting lower scores.
Point is, once you start to see how safer targets can pay off in the long run, you’ll have a better sense of when to play conservatively and when to go straight for the flag. Or, in other words, how to measure risk versus reward on the golf course.